Scared Tiger Barbs In A 55 Gallon Planted Tank?

ikolbyi

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Established 55 Gallon planted tank with:
(4) Otocinclus Catfish (Otocinclus vittatus)
(6) Sterbai Corydoras Catfish (Corydoras sterbai)
(1) Fresh Water River Asian Clam
(1) Zebra Nerite Snail
(1) Siamese Algae Eater Fish (Crossocheilus oblongus)
(1) Bulldog/Rubbernose Plecostomus (Chaetostoma milesi, L187b)
(1) Clown Plecostomus (Peckoltia Vittata)
(6) Columbian Blue/Red Fin Tetra (Hyphessobrycon columbianus)
(6) Tiger Barb (Puntius tetrazona)
(1) Kribensis (Pelvicachromis pulcher)
(1) Dwarf Orange Mexican Crayfish (Cambarellus patzcuarensis)

Prior to the Tiger barbs, this tank setup had 6 Black Ruby Barbs (BRB). When I had the BRB only the SAE and Oto's would venture to the top 1/3 rd region of the tank, the Tetra's and and BRB all stayed low. The BRB and Tetra's were the same size, fully grown. Once and only once a Tetra attacked a BRB and the BRB performed the equivalent of a WWF smack down, this only occurred once and never again did a Tetra ever think of messing with any of the BRB. The BRB swam all over the tank and the Barb antics was plentiful being high energy fish.

Fast forward to today, I replaced the BRB simply because I wanted a fish that would venture into the top region of the tank. The BRB were replaced with the Tiger Barbs (1/2 the size of the BRB). This occurred 6 weeks ago. The result is the Tiger Barb (TB) don't swim much, they mostly school together at some corner of the tank. On occasion a Tetra will chase the TB but there is no damage and the chase is short lived. One of the 6 TB hides in the plants then comes out to schools, hides, then schools, repeat...repeat..repeat. The TB are eating, they especially love ham from the supermarket.

Thoughts on why the TB behavior is so shy?

IMG_20170309_084750.jpg
IMG_20170309_084750.jpg
 
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Sina

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Those tiger barbs are clearly stressed I don't why i can you up their number maybe they feel more comfortable perhaps someone with more experience can help you
You also have some stocking issues if like to talk about it just tell
Beautiful tank
 
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ikolbyi

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Stocking issues? According to AqAdvisor I'm below 100%. If I add 1 TB making the total count 7 according to AqAdvisor I will be at 102% stocking level for my size tank. Also don't forget, the previous 6 BRB in the tank were almost twice the size as these TB - I found it interesting that the BRB were more protective than the TB, seems opposite.

Photo of the entire tank:

IMG_20170227_070545-sm.jpg
 
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AWheeler

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Add more filtration, wait for it to collect more bacteria and then get more of the Tiger barbs.
 
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ikolbyi

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Add more filtration, wait for it to collect more bacteria and then get more of the Tiger barbs.
I'm running a Fluval 406 canister - I have the capacity already.

Here is a quick video of the fish:
 
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Sina

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The level of your stocking is fine you have too much fish for your bottom also Sterbai cory and clown pleco need warmer water than otos and otos need to stay in group of six
 
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ikolbyi

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The level of your stocking is fine you have too much fish for your bottom also Sterbai cory and clown pleco need warmer water than otos and otos need to stay in group of six
I'm not sure I understand. My bottom dwellers are:
* 6 Cory Cats
* 1 clam that is buried under the sub-strait therefore never see
* 1 Dwarf Orange Crawfish that is no larger than an Oto and hasn't grown any larger (nor expected to)

The 2 pleco's are all over the tank, spend only 30% of their time on the subs-strait if that.
The 1 snail is either on the glass or plant.

Not sure how this setup has over-saturated the bottom. Water temp is set to 76 degrees F, all fish appear healthy and happy.
Regarding the Oto's, they never school or even come close to each other, all 4 live in opposite corners of the tank.
 

Sina

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Clown plecos and sterbai corys usually recommended for 78F and otos aren't schooling but they need 6+ to be comfortable
For 55 gallon it is good to have one big school of cory or kuhli loaches or anything else and maybe one pleco this isn't a must it is just proved that fishes are happier that way maybe they are happier now
As for your tiger barbs I can't understand why they behaving like this I believe if you up your number of your barbs this might go away you also can try a little bit bigger barb like odessa barb they just 1cm bigger than tigers but still ask from someone with more experience
 

KarainSD

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I have tiger barbs in a 55 gallon, and they are all over the place. When I had them in my qt, they usually hid on the caves/plants - so I'd associate the hiding being related to being insecure or stressed.
I have no experience with Columbian tetra, but it makes me wonder if they aren't bullying the Tigers? Usually tiger barbs are considered to be the more aggressive fish...
I agree that upping the number of barbs would probably help them to be more secure - but I'm not sure how that would work with your current stocking. I also keep my barbs at 73*F - I think 76 is at the very high end of their temp range?
 
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ikolbyi

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I had Odessa's in this tank with the Columbian Tetra's but their behavior and color patterns just didn't give me the 'warm and fuzzies', the Odessa's were bullied by the Tetra's as well. I gave them 4 weeks before I returned them to the store in exchange for the Tigers. The Odessa's got so dark Red that they actually began to blend in with the Tetra's despite the different body shapes and behavior. I love the Black Ruby barbs but they would never leave the bottom of the tank and that was a major issue - over crowding in the bottom tank strata. The Tiger's are perfect in both strata swimming and colors, just need to understand their behavior because it appears different than all other barbs I have had (Gold, Odessa, Black Ruby, and Cherry)

As mentioned earlier the Black Ruby Barbs took no $%^& from the Tetra's, and "pummbled" The Tetra's if they tried to nip at them. These Tigers run away. Go figure...?

I was sad to give up my Black Ruby Barbs, their bodies were almost jet black, so dark you couldn't see any stripes on them and they had a bright red face - all 6 of them where like this and they stuck together in a tight school chasing each other all over the tank, had tons of energy.

Here is an old photo:
 
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ikolbyi

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It's been 4 days now since I add 1 additional Tiger Barb bringing the total now to 7. Leaving the Columbia Tetra's at 6. My observation: Immediately after I added the TB, the Kribensis attacked it (just the added one only) to show tank dominance. Once the Krib established it was the Godfather of the tank and the TB kissed it's 'pinkie fin ring', the Krib left the new TB and all 7 TB for that matter alone. There is still some aggression between the Krib and the Columbian Tetra's (CT), I now noticed one of the CT fin is half gone...and these fish have been together pushing 2 months. Back to the TB, the TB look healthier now as a result. They still get 'anxiety' around the Krib, but outside of that they look more relaxed and school much more tighter. They also behave more like barbs and fight among themselves often.

Debating if I should remove the single Krib. The Cory's don't seem to mind the Krib.

The image shows the Tetra with the chewed fin and the single Krib in the tank in question.

IMG_20170313_192324.jpg
 
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ikolbyi

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This tank has gone through some changes:
* Moved the heater
* Moved the canister filter outflow
* Trimmed the plants back
* Added more live rock
* Replaced the 6 Cory cats with 2 Pictus cats
* Removed the Kribs
* Upped the Tetra's to 7
* Upped the Barbs to 8

--- 3 weeks later life is grand and working out great.
 
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